The 3-STEP Integrative Approach to Autism PART 5: Risk in Neglect

Jan 30 2013

This post continues THE 3-STEP Integrative Approach to Autism series, developed over 18 years of research, experience and collaboration. Today Part 5: BEHAVIORAL requirements for growth: Risk in Neglect

Risk in Neglect:

The parent with whom the child forms a primary bond cannot make herself unavailable, especially when she is in plain sight. For example, a two-year-old who has seen his mother in the other room finds himself frustrated with a toy that was stuck in the coach. He can’t play with it anymore so he cries and yells. The mother is talking on the phone or preparing some food, so she asks her sister to check in on him and see what is wrong. While that might work just fine with an insensitive child, it could have devastating consequences for a sensitive child. When the mother (primary bond representative) fails to attend to her child’s needs, the sensitive child interprets the act as one of abandonment by the one person he relies on. No three-year-old can express that sentiment or even consciously think it, yet they feel it. However, this is an example of exaggerated reactivity to stress that sensitive children show. Any change in care that can be remotely interpreted as neglect or mishandling may wreak havoc on a sensitive child’s mind, throwing him into overload and consequent non-responsiveness. This is not an accusation or condemnation. Rather it is a call to action for less sensitive adults, those unaware of such delicate aspects of raising children that are more sensitive. Nothing is more important than attending to your child’s needs. Nothing is worth delegating your child’s care to someone else.

Rami Serhan, MD
Author, Psyche-Smart Autism; Integrative Medicine Consultant
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